Understand catalogs

A catalog organizes your products, SKUs, and collections in a hierarchy that reflects the way users will navigate to them on your store.

A catalog contains collections, which in turn, contain products.

By default, Commerce includes a single catalog called Product Catalog, where you can create all the collections, products, and SKUs available to your store. There are times, though, when you might want to provide shoppers with a more customized shopping experience by creating additional catalogs. You can create and assign additional catalogs in the following instances:

  • Multiple stores: You can run multiple stores (called sites) from a single instance of Commerce. Each site has a unique domain and you can assign each site its own catalog. For example, suppose you sell soccer jerseys. You could create a separate store for each team whose jerseys you sell. You would assign each store a catalog that contains only products for that team. Fans could easily find and purchase their team’s gear without having to sift through merchandise for other teams. For details about running multiple sites, see Run Multiple Stores from One Commerce Instance.
  • Account-based stores: Commerce lets you create accounts for companies that do business with you, such as manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers. You can provide each account with a catalog that meets its specific business requirements. It is unlikely that all account-based shoppers will need to purchase all products your store sells, so providing an account with its own focused catalog makes it easier for those shoppers to find and purchase the right products. Logged-in contacts who shop on your store can see and purchase only the products in the catalog associated with their account. For details about creating and managing accounts, see Configure Business Accounts.
  • Rules set by an external system. By default, Commerce assigns catalogs and price groups to sites or, for account-based commerce, to accounts. However, you might want to override these default assignments with different catalogs and price groups for each registered shopper. For example, you can personalize the catalog and prices a shopper sees based on geographic location or level in a loyalty program. For more information, see Assign Catalogs and Price Groups to Shoppers.

Commerce lets you create the following types of catalogs:

  • Independent catalogs are catalogs that are not dependent on any other catalog in your environment. Collections you add to an independent catalog can be exclusive to that catalog, or can be linked to a number of different catalogs. The Product Catalog that Commerce includes by default is structured as an independent catalog. See Work with independent catalogs for more information.
  • Filtered catalogs provide custom views into the master catalog. Filtered catalogs let you add products to a catalog without defining collections in that catalog hierarchy. See Work with filtered catalogs for more information.
  • Legacy catalogs are an older type of secondary catalogs that provide custom views into the Product Catalog. See Work with legacy catalogs for more information.